Ring in the New Year with the Noise Program

News Article
Three large fireworks burst over the Willamette River during a New Year's Eve celebration
Civic Life is getting ready to celebrate the New Year by ensuring that businesses have the knowledge and resources to be good neighbors.

Portlanders are getting ready to send 2021 out in style! Many businesses have been prioritizing the health of their employees and customers by offering outdoor experiences. These new changes may result in neighbors hearing more noise. Civic Life’s Noise Program has put together some resources to help businesses reach out to their communities ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations!

When should I apply for a noise variance?
The allowable level of noise for an activity is determined by its location and time of day, outlined in the City of Portland’s Noise Code, Title 18. You may want to apply for a noise variance if you have a reasonable request for an activity outside those guidelines. That could be something like hosting an outdoor celebration with amplified music after 10:00 p.m.

Variances are an opportunity for you to share your plans and contact information with your community, and you must notify the neighbors and businesses that may be impacted by the noise from your proposed activity. Because of the required notification process, you’re much less likely to make neighbors upset if you tell them about the event ahead of time. Please check with the Noise Program to find out about the best way to notify nearby neighbors!

How do I apply for a noise variance?
You can find complete instructions on how to apply for a noise variance on our website. We have separate applications for construction activities and for all other activities or events. Please note that we cannot begin the formal review of the noise variance request until the application is complete and all required fees are paid.

Timing of your application is important: To avoid accelerated fees, give us ten days prior to your event to submit your application and a copy of the notification to neighbors. It’s best to give your neighbors a heads up of at least five days, and remember to include your contact information!

Let’s work together to help our Portland communities have a happy and safe New Year!
For more information, visit our website, email us at variances@portlandoregon.gov, or call 503-823-7350.

If you want to file a noise complaint, first check online to see if it is within our program’s control (fireworks and human voices are not covered by the noise code). File the complaint online or email the Noise Program at variances@portlandoregon.gov. We will review your complaint and issue a warning letter to the source of the noise if it qualifies. If that does not resolve the issue, the Noise Program will make direct contact. This process is not immediate and could take several days or weeks. Please do not call 911 with noise issues unless you are in an emergency situation.